Carolina (6-1) at Houston (2-5)

Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 52° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Nov 2, 2003
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Although the Carolina Panthers own one of the best records in the NFL, their first seven games have been anything but easy.

The surprising Panthers look to keep winning when they face former coach Dom Capers and the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.

The Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints 23-20 last week on John Kasay’s 31-yard field goal in overtime, becoming the first team in league history to win three road games in extra time in the same season.

Kasay, 17-for-17 on field goal attempts, became the second kicker in history to hit three game-winners in overtime in a season.

“Any time you can go on the road in this league and win, it’s a feather in your cap, especially in overtime when it’s not looking really good for you,” coach John Fox said. “Our guys just kept swinging, and we were able to have that short kick at the end.”

Stephen Davis set a single-game team record with 178 yards rushing and two touchdowns, one week after being held to 20 yards on 11 carries in a 37-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Davis tied Anthony Johnson’s 1996 team record with his fifth 100-yard performance, and is on pace to easily break Johnson’s franchise mark of 1,120 yards in a season. Davis has rushed for 839 yards on 163 carries.

“We had one game where we got taken out of (our running game) because we fell behind early,” Fox said. “Today the game plan was to give them a heavy dose of Stephen. He started fast and finished fast.”

Minutes after defensive end Julius Peppers forced a fumble on New Orleans’ opening drive in overtime, Davis had a 34-yard run that led to Kasay’s winning kick.

“That was it. The game was on the line,” said Peppers, who has just two sacks after recording 12 last season. “You just have to dig deep, and all I did was make a play.

“I’m still here, I am doing the same things I did last year, I know the numbers aren’t there, but I am coming around.”

The Panthers rank second in the NFL with 161 rushing yards per game. That should be a huge factor against the Texans, who allow 117 rushing yards per game, 20th in the league.

Houston has other problems besides stopping the run, with starting quarterback David Carr probably out with an injured right ankle.

“David did more light jogging. You can see his ankle has improved,” said Capers, who coached the Panthers from 1995-98. “I would say we probably would not have him be the third quarterback on Sunday.”

Carr, who took every snap last season despite being sacked an NFL-record 76 times, was hurt in the first quarter of last week’s 30-21 loss to Indianapolis. He returned to the game after sitting out two series and led the team on a 79-yard touchdown drive, but didn’t play again after the score.

Carr’s backup, Tony Banks, finished with 88 yards on 12-of-17 passing and will start Sunday. Rookie Dave Ragone, who never has taken an NFL snap, will be his backup.

Capers is facing his former team for the first time. In 1995, he guided the Panthers to a 7-9 mark, setting a record for most victories by an expansion team and earning AP Coach of the Year honors.

The following season, he led the team to the NFC championship game, where Carolina lost to Green Bay at Lambeau Field.

However, after the Panthers went 7-9 in 1997 and 4-12 in 1998, Capers was fired and became Jacksonville’s defensive coordinator just six weeks later.

Last season, he led the Texans to a 4-12 mark in their inaugural season, tying the 1995 Jaguars for the second-most wins by an expansion club.

Updated Friday, Oct 31, 2003

Team Comparison

Team Records Standings PF PA Road/Home AFC NFC DIV Streak
Carolina 11-5-0 1st NFC South 325 304 5-3-0 Road 2-2-0 9-3-0 5-1-0 Won 3
Houston 5-11-0 4th AFC South 255 380 3-5-0 Home 3-9-0 2-2-0 1-5-0 Lost 4

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards


Week 12
  Sunday, Nov 23   Pittsburgh at
Cleveland 13
6 Final
      Indianapolis at
Buffalo 17
14 Final
      San Francisco at
Green Bay 10
20 Final
      Detroit at
Minnesota 14
24 Final
      Carolina at
Dallas 20
24 Final
      New England at
Houston 23
20 Final
      Seattle at
Baltimore 41
44 Final
      New Orleans at
Philadelphia 20
33 Final
      Jacksonville at
NY Jets 10
13 Final
      Chicago at
Denver 19
10 Final
      St. Louis at
Arizona 30
27 Final
      Oakland at
Kansas City 24
27 Final
      Tennessee at
Atlanta 38
31 Final
      Cincinnati at
San Diego 34
27 Final
      Washington at
Miami 23
24 Final
      Monday, Nov 24   NY Giants at
Tampa Bay 13
19 Final